Oxford English Dictionary may go out of print

Published: April 22, 2014
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The publishers said that the third edition of the famous dictionary, estimated to fill 40 volumes, is running at least 20 years behind schedule. PHOTO: ONLINE

The publishers said that the third edition of the famous dictionary, estimated to fill 40 volumes, is running at least 20 years behind schedule. PHOTO: ONLINE

The world’s most extensive work on the English language, the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), may not appear in print form ever again according to The Telegraph.

Publishers of the renowned dictionary said that the print version of the book is extremely lengthy and argued that an online version would be more economical to scholars.

They also added that the third edition of the famous dictionary, which is estimated to fill 4o volumes, is 20 years behind schedule.

The OED’s first new chief editor for 20 years, Michael Proffitt, said the dictionary is facing delays due to an “information overload” from the internet, which is slowing his compilers.

His team of 70 philologists, including lexicographers, etymologists and pronunciation experts, has been working on the latest version, known as OED3, for the past 20 years.

Proffitt revealed to Country Life magazine that the next edition will not be completed until 2034, and likely only to be offered in an online form because of its large size.

“A lot of the first principles of the OED stand firm, but how it manifests has to change, and how it reaches people has to change,” said the 48-year-old editor.

The Oxford University Press stated that a print version will only be available for sale if there is enough demand for it at that time. It will comprise of 40 volumes, which is double the length of the second edition which came out in 1989.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • shah
    Apr 22, 2014 - 6:08PM

    Some folks have all the luck. These guys have been having a vacation for 20 years and still have jobs are still getting paid.

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  • Salman Husen
    Apr 22, 2014 - 7:44PM

    One of best dictionary.

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  • Library lady
    Apr 23, 2014 - 12:18AM

    I hope they do still make the third OED available. At the very least as a special order binding. It would be such a shame to see this extensive collection become yet another digital only work. It is important that we retain physical copies of all important documents, this being perhaps one of the most important as it is the key to our English language.

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  • Library lady
    Apr 23, 2014 - 12:22AM

    I do hope they publish the third edition of the OED. It would be such a shame to see such an important document be limited to a digital edition. There is a very real need to maintain physical copies of significant historical and cultural documents and I cannot fathom a more vital document than the updated OED. At the very least, I hope they make an edition available with print to order binding.

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  • Apr 23, 2014 - 2:35AM

    i really like this dicatary because i will like to put a word in it…

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  • yousafhaque
    Apr 23, 2014 - 4:24PM

    @kelisa:::You’v already put one!

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